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Hope Mills residents hope property values increase as dam reopens

What was once a fixture in the Hope Mills community has turned into an eye-sore.

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HOPE MILLS, N.C. — What was once a fixture in the Hope Mills community has turned into an eye sore.

The Hope Mills Dam hasn’t been operational since it failed in 2010. Years of legal disputes later, a replacement dam is finally near completion and ready to reopen.

It's a welcome thought for the people who live and work nearby.

Roderick MacLean says the mass of concrete is a sight for some very sore eyes.

"I'm very confident that this dam here, we're looking at now, will survive a good many years," MacLean said.

MacLean and his family have seen the dam come and go. He's lived on the lake since 2005.

The original dam was breached in 2003 by a major storm. The dam was rebuilt in 2008, but it failed two years later.

The town won a $9.4 million settlement against the company that built it, and the money has paid for a new dam.

"This is a small dam compared to what we had," Mayor Jackie Warner said. "Also as you look at it, the great space on both sides and the rock formation, everything about this dam looks very professional. And also I think it is something that we will be very proud of. Whereas the other dam, from the very beginning, it looked like a monster."

The Army Corps of Engineers conducted its final inspection a couple of weeks ago. Inspectors from North Carolina Dam Safety spent the day last week giving it a final look.

Now the town is waiting for the green light to start impounding water to reform the lake

"They're saying about a foot a day, because they want to monitor the dam as they're filling it up," Warner said. "And so that, probably 21 days before you actually see a lake.”

Property values around the lake have suffered since it's been empty.

Residents are hopeful that as the water rises, their property values will as well.

"And we are absolutely delighted that it's back," MacLean said.

Hope Mills is hoping to get good news about the dam opening date from inspectors in a week or two.

The town learned Wednesday that the $45,000 in permits and inspection fees will be paid for with disaster relief funds.


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